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Capitol Reef National Park

Posted by on May 1, 2014


WATERPOCKET FOLD, that’s a new term I learned about when we visited Capital Reef National Park.

This is how the National Park Services describes this phenomenon:

A nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth’s crust, the Waterpocket Fold is a classic monocline: a regional fold with one very steep side in an area of otherwise nearly horizontal layers. A monocline is a “step-up” in the rock layers. The rock layers on the west side of the Waterpocket Fold have been lifted more than 7,000 feet (2,134 m) higher than the layers on the east. Major folds are almost always associated with underlying faults. The Waterpocket Fold formed between 50 and 70 million years ago when a major mountain building event in western North America, the Laramide Orogeny, reactivated an ancient buried fault. When the fault moved, the overlying rock layers were draped above the fault and formed a monocline.



 Whatever all that really means in English, I think to me it means a lifting of the earth’s crust and creating a place for water to collect.


Waterpocket Fold

Waterpocket Fold

To visit this National Park we stayed in two different locations.  First was Hanksville, UT about 35 miles to the north and then later we moved to Torrey, UT about 12 miles to the south of the parks entrance.  Either way you see some amazing country.  The views coming into the park from the South to the North is most spectacular, but by staying in the northern area of Hanksville awarded us some side trips to Goblin Valley State Park. We stayed at Dukes Slickrock RV park. It was reasonable and convenient for us the first 3 days of our visit to this area. The restaurant out front is outstanding. Home-style and very different meals served here. Their BBQ is excellent, smoked right on the premises and don’t miss their pies or burgers, the best. We had a breakfast, lunch and ordered in some BBQ for one dinner.  That’s a lot for us, we rarely eat out but this place was great and the people were so friendly. Our waitress has worked here 30 years.  this is where you check in for the RV park as well. No frills, it’s just a dirt parking lot but it was fine for our needs. We would stay there again.

 In the early morning on the way to Capitol Reef I noticed these beautiful yellow flowers that seemed to be blooming for miles along the road.


road from hanksville-3423


Flowers on the road from Hanksville








Flowers in Hanksville



Road froom Hanksville to Capitol Reef

A beautiful view this morning looking toward the Henry Mountains


Some of these white dome formations helped establish the name of the park from the early settlers.

Some of these white dome formations helped establish the name of the park from the early settlers.




 Just a few miles outside the park’s official entrance there was a small herd of Big Horned Sheep.  They were relaxing on a small mesa near the road.  I was able to get a few snapshots of them.


Ewes leaving for higher ground

Two Ewes not happy that I am pointing my lens  toward them


I moved in a little closer in hopes of some better pictures but one of the ewes was not happy with my decision to do that.  She lowered her rear as if to relieve herself but that was not what she was doing.  Through my lens I could see her nostrils flaring in and out.. I think she was going to head my way in a charge.. Who knows, maybe not, but I didn’t stick around for the “rest of the story”
 Click  image for a larger view:



Preparing to charge

This Ewe perhaps was thinking about chasing me off her property… I left the scene immediately



Big horn

This Big Boy was up higher on the cliff




Capital Reef National Park

Waterpocket Fold area


The Scenic Drive through the park

The Scenic Drive through the park



Capitol Gorge Road

On the road to the Golden Throne Trailhead


Egyptian Temple-3507

The Egyptian Temple






Fruita, Utah

Fruita Ranch



Petroglyphs in Fruita Utah

On the road to Fruita these petroglyphs are visible from a small boardwalk from the road.

These images on the rocks throughout our country tell stories. What they tell is for the most part speculative.  For me the artwork speaks loudly in a spiritual way. I feel energy when I stand before these petroglyphs and pictographs.  To know some person stood here where I am standing now, hundreds of years ago, etching images of people, animals and reptiles; that gives me “chicken skin”.  I am willing to hike miles to find and photograph one of these panels.  But what stops me in my tracks is when I see that some Stupid visitor has carved their name, dates or places where they are from over the top of or next to these precious rocks of history. What were they thinking????

Along the Capitol Gorge Road, there are many interesting rock coloration’s and textures.






Claret Cactus

Claret Cactus


Waterpocket Cliff

Edge of the Waterpocket Fold













Another place to visit while you are in the Hanksville area is Goblin Valley State Park… this place is very unique. Another different set of rock formations. like we have seen everywhere we have been in the past few weeks.  this is just unending adventure.!!



Goblin Valley-3400


Click Image for larger view:




Here in Goblin Valley, but Not inside the park , are some great Boondocking areas.   This one is just a few miles before the visitor Center on the right side of the road.   It’s a paved road for a few miles. This boondock area had Vaulted toilets and a few fire pits.  No Fee.


Click on image for larger view:


Next we stayed at Thousand Lakes RV Park in Torrey, UT so we could be closer to Capitol Reef.   We were able to take more of the hikes and back-roads being closer to the park.  You can camp at the campsite inside the park but come Very early to secure a spot. No hookups and generator times were 8-10 AM and 6-8pm… They keep a tight ship here… no breaking the rules!


We are off to Nephi UT for just one night and then to Tooele, UT.



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